Access to the Sea
Our world has been in a continuous wave of border drawings. With the waxing and waning of world powers the borders too were changing. What we see in today’s map is the result of an ongoing political skirmish and land grabbing land losing. What seems to be eternal line in the current world map could be changed overnight. The best example of the later is the inclusion of Crimea in to the Russian federation. The case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia are also other examples in the Georgian front.
Ethiopia in its long history has seen its borders redrawn a number of times. After the collapse of the Axumite empire the borders soon shrunk to the northern Abyssinian territory. The closed policy of the Zagwe dynasty that followed Axum was more interested in church buildings and other religious commitments rather than pushing frontiers. Emperor Tewodros envisioned a strong and unified Ethiopia. And to this effect he waged subsequent wars against the weak and divided local lords. He was able to administer a greater Ethiopia although his long vision was soon interrupted by the Napier expedition. Emperor Yohannes IV passed most of his time in fighting against foreign colonialists. He was the first emperor to defeat Italians and Egyptians and thereby breaking their dream of colonizing Ethiopia. During his time Ethiopia remained a respected country. The south march of Emperor Menelik has enlarged the territory of the country and thereby changing its borders. But while getting territories in the south and east he has lost a significant territory on the north after the battle of Adwa. Ethiopia became a landlocked country. The memorable struggles of Alula in protecting the northern border of our country was left in vain. The much protected Red Sea frontier was lost to the Italians and the border was redrawn again. Ethiopia was tragically left a landlocked country. After the annexation of Eritrea by Ethiopia by emperor Haile Selassie, the largest and more complete Ethiopian map that we know was drawn. And this made the later emperor the one who has ruled a larger territory than his predecessor kings. This border has granted Ethiopia its legal and natural right to access the sea. Red Sea is a natural gateway for the old nation of Ethiopia.
The Arab backed rebels in the northern tip of the country managed to push out the government forces in 1991. This was soon followed by a fake referendum which was done under the presence of the gun bearing rebels. The result can’t be different. People were asked to choose between Freedom or No Freedom. How on earth can any human being choose to have No Freedom? The question of Independence or Unity with Ethiopia was not raised. The question of Ethiopia’s right to the sea was not addressed. Once again Ethiopia lost its natural sea outlet. The self appointed ‘government’ in Eritrea didn’t take much time to show its servitude to its Arab masters and continue to bleed Ethiopia. The whole mission of the secession was to weaken the country which is wrongly conceived as a ‘Christian Island’ by the Arabs. Fragmenting the nation and controlling the source of Nile was their ultimate goal.
No one has faced the misery of this game more than the poor Eritreans who were separated at a gunpoint from Ethiopia. They become victims of their own children. It is true that the war against the Derg was justified as the latter was the most brutal regime in Ethiopia’s history. By its brutality was not specific to Eritrea, every Ethiopian was a victim.
The current move of the new leadership in Addis Ababa to incorporate the lost sea frontier is a Divine mission. The peace that Ethiopia was anticipating by granting independence to Eritrea didn’t materialize. Occupying the Red Sea coast south of Massawa up to border with Djibouti is the final solution. Establishing a stronger Ethiopian navy is for the benefit of every country in the world as this can faithfully fight sea piracy and safeguard the Red Sea isthmus in the Aden gulf. Whether the larger Eritrean people want to be part of a greater Ethiopia or not is to be seen after we get the sea.
Ethiopia has a right to access the sea. Close to 100 million people shouldn’t be denied from their natural border by a bunch of rebels. The government of Ethiopia should occupy the territory and under its direct observation a referendum should be given to the Red Sea Afars.
To be continued.